The Lives of Immigrant Youth Are Not a “Bargaining Chip”

August 22, 2017

Email: [email protected]
Juan Gastelum, 213-375-3149
Patrick O’Shea, 202-384-1276

The Lives of Immigrant Youth Are Not a “Bargaining Chip”

WASHINGTON — News media reported today that the Trump administration is considering continuing protections for undocumented immigrant youth in exchange for a legislative package that would make our country’s immigration system dramatically worse. The proposed trade-offs reportedly include funding to enact mass deportation and build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as radically reducing legal immigration.

Ignacia Rodriguez, immigration policy advocate with the National Immigration Law Center, issued the following statement:

“Every single day since Trump was elected, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients and other immigrant youth have had to think about what could happen to them. Will they lose their jobs? Will they be forced to leave the U.S., like Juan Manuel Montes, even if they have been granted DACA and the program remains in place?

“In the midst of this grueling uncertainty, the White House is reportedly considering using them as bargaining chips for making a deal. It would be shameful, in any case, to use people’s lives and basic need to feel secure in their homes as means for leveraging a political win. But to do this in order to enact a white nationalist blueprint is repulsive.

“President Trump has said he would ‘work something out’ for immigrant youth ‘that’s going to make people happy and proud.’ You don’t achieve that by gambling with the lives of nearly 800,000 people. If you acknowledge that DACA works, then defend it and leave it alone.”

(For more information on the case of Juan Manuel Montes, a DACA recipient whom U.S. Customs and Border Protection illegally expelled from the U.S. earlier this year, visit

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